BY MIKE PUIA
PRIME Minister Rick Hou has announced the current drug shortage situation experienced in the country is now under control.
Prime Minister Hou made the assurance at an urgent press conference in Honiara yesterday.
He admitted his government has been very concern about this issue.
Respond to concerns raised by members of the public about the country’s drug shortage situation, Prime Minister Hou convened an emergency session of caucus yesterday afternoon where officials from the Ministry of Health and medical Services (MHMS) briefed caucus about the situation.
“I have been assured during the caucus meeting that our drug shortage situation is now under control,” Hou said.
Prime Minister Hou said the country’s primary order will be delivered to the country next month and early September.
The primary order will cater for the country’s demand for drugs until June 2019.
The Prime Minister revealed in addition to the primary order, the MHMS has placed four more orders.
- Critical Drugs, Dressing and Consumables. This order is mostly for the National Referral Hospital (NRH). This order is currently in the country and will be cleared from the Ports in the coming days.
- Essential Drugs. This is for the whole country. These drugs will be delivered at the country’s National Medical Store (NMS) next month.
- Emergency Drugs. These drugs are for the whole country until primary order is delivered. Some of this order will be delivered by ship and others by air. Those to be delivered by air are expected in the coming weeks.
- Anaesthetic Drugs and Supplies are expected to be airfreighted into the country in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Hou said he will talk with the Chief Executive Officer of the Solomon Airlines to give priority freights to our drugs.
He said the public must be assured that the government is addressing this matter with outmost urgency.
“We are confident that all drugs that have been procured since April this year will be in the country next month. Most of the drugs have already started arriving over the past week,” Prime Minister Hou said.
He admitted he had taken personal interest in this matter.
“I have taken a personal interest in this matter and I will keep it under a regular review to ensure what I and the caucus had been assured about will happen,” Prime Minister Hou said.
He said the government will ensure the drug situation in the country remains a priority.
The Prime Minister also mentioned putting additional money to cater for the procurement of drugs.
Permanent Secretary of the MHMS, Dr Tenneth Dalipanda, said funding for drugs is enough.
Dalipanda said of the $50 million for drugs, they have only used less than $20 million.
He said the issue currently faced is something to do with the procurement system and not with funding.
Prime Minister Hou said this matter is of serious concern to his government.
“The health of our people must not be compromised whether through shortcomings by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, or our tender systems or from our partners,” Prime Minister Hou said.
He said the country should never be in an untenable position of running out of its most essential drugs.